Wild Dude upsets Masochistic in Bing Crosby

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 27th, 2015

No match for the streaking Masochistic in the June 27 Triple Bend (G1) at Santa Anita, Wild Dude enjoyed the change of venue to Del Mar and turned the tables in Sunday's $300,000 Bing Crosby (G1). The 11-1 chance rolled past the tiring 2-5 favorite late, securing a spot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) as part of the "Win and You're In" program.

Masochistic looked to be in the perfect position for most of the six-furlong dash. Nicely relaxed in third early, he was watching the spectacle of Distinctiv Passion zip through an opening quarter in :22.01 under pressure from Caminetto. Masochistic crept ominously closer, and as the two leaders eyeballed each other through a ferocious half in :44.73, he was poised to strike on the outside. The favorite disposed of them with apparent ease entering the stretch, and for a brief moment, it looked like a Triple Bend redux.

Until it wasn't. Wild Dude, who had been switched off farther back in fourth early, was making good progress wider out for Flavien Prat. As he hit top gear inside the final furlong, Masochistic began to tread water. Wild Dude won going away by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:09.51 and sparked a $24.60 win mutuel.

Masochistic may have just labored more over this surface. On the other hand, trainer Ron Ellis had said beforehand that he was "running him back a little quicker than I would like, but we’ll roll the dice and hope for the best."

The game plan was for Masochistic to get a two-month break ahead of the October 3 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), where he's likely to shine again. But that raises a question about the Breeders' Cup: will running back on less than a month's rest cause concern? Or can this loss be chalked up more to the track than the time between races?

Returning to the Bing Crosby order of finish, Kobe's Back came from the clouds for third, but you'd have to think he could have been a lot closer if he'd gotten off to any kind of sane start. While the gray has a history of blowing the start, this was egregious even by his standards. He took a left-hand turn out of his inside post, as though a sightseeing tour of the turf course and infield caught his fancy of a Sunday afternoon. By the time he got organized and actually into stride, he was a long-way last. Not his normal last, but a hopeless last.

Since he got his preferred scenario of a pace meltdown on this track, Kobe's Back may have frittered away a golden opportunity with his frustrating behavior out of the gate. Trainer Peter Eurton will likely have to put on his equine psychologist's hat to get the gate antics sorted. Still, the seven furlongs of Del Mar's other major sprint, the August 22 Pat O'Brien (G2), should suit him even better.

Caminetto reported home fourth, and Distinctive Passion trailed, eliciting further descriptions from observers of a dead rail. (But note in the next race, two-year-old debutante Songbird ran her rivals ragged from her rail post.)

Co-owned by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and Green Smith, Wild Dude sports a mark of 16-6-3-4, $724,887. This isn't the first time he's lowered the colors of a hot favorite. When capturing his stakes debut in the 2014 Palos Verdes (G2), the bay upstaged then-reigning Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle. Wild Dude just missed in the Potrero Grande (G2) to Big Macher, eventual winner of last summer's Bing Crosby, before being sidelined. This season, he defeated Kobe's Back in the March 7 San Carlos (G2) and also placed in his Palos Verdes comeback as well as the Los Angeles (G3) and Triple Bend.

As genuine as he's been on this circuit, however, Wild Dude was sixth in the April 4 Carter H. (G1) in his only venture outside California. That could be a salient fact come Breeders' Cup time at Keeneland.

In contrast, Masochistic and Kobe's Back have both won in the Bluegrass State. Masochistic famously crushed a maiden by 14 lengths at Churchill Downs for former trainer A.C. Avila on Derby Day 2014, and Kobe's Back captured Keeneland's Commonwealth (G3) (albeit over seven furlongs) on April 4. And as the Bing Crosby showed, the venue matters.

Photo courtesy of Benoit.